A little over a year ago, Kombucha business co-owners were faced with a difficult decision: stay in Bend or go national. After contemplation, Jamie Danek and Michelle Plantenberg decided that accessibility was the most important goal for their company and, therefore, they agreed to go nationwide.
Their decision prompted them to change the company name from Kombucha Mama, which they had used since their establishment in 2009. Danek commented, “When we were looking at the name we were trying to determine what the company was all about. You know, it started out as two girls in a kitchen and it’s Kombucha Mama; it’s just a great name, an awesome name. Nobody would deny it’s an amazing name for a small, local, fond company. Then, when we went to go look at the national presence of this name, and this brand, it didn’t make a lot of sense.”
Danek and Plantenberg are hopeful that the rebranding will capture the “true essence” of the company. “If we’re going to have [the drink]outside of Bend, people have to be able to pick up that bottle, see it and just get it,” Danek explains. “We want people to feel that vibe and feel that energy, feel Bend.”
They decided that they could bottle that feeling with the name Humm Kombucha. “Humm is like that, that universal sound, it’s music, the rhythm of the universe. Humm is a comfort word. It’s like ‘lemonade’…you think about humming and you never hum when you’re not happy. Nobody hums when they’re not happy and humming is a vibe, it’s like ommm.”
Humm Kombucha is currently “spreading the vibe” in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. In addition, the beverage, which is available in nine flavors, will soon be found on the shelves of Pacific Northwest grocery stores Fred Meyer and Safeway. In order to keep up the demands, the Humm Kombucha facility went through a major expansion; their facility now produces 5,000 gallons a week, 10 times the amount of their previous facility. Looking at the future, Danek and Plantenberg see nothing but continued growth. They are already anticipating a second expansion by next year.
Danek concludes, “The beautiful thing [about the change]is that it’s still the same company, the same people, the same energy, the same vibe and the same yummy kombucha. Nothing has changed…once you get in here, you never want to leave. This is the happiest place you could ever be.”
Location:/Website: 1125 NE Second St., Bend,
Owners: Michele Plantenberg and Jamie Danek
No. Employees: 21
Year Established: 2009Product/Service: upwards of 10 different flavors of Kombucha
Hot News: September 2013 moved to new 5,000 square foot facility (formerly the Design Lighting Building). Changed name and branding to go national April 2014.
Outlook for Growth: expansion included a Kombucha Brewery with retail and a small cafe and bump up production to 5,000 (from 500) gallons per week, includes distribution to all of Oregon, Washington and Idaho.